The Travelling Criminologist travels to….Frankston!

This week the travelling criminologist travelled to….Frankston. Only 35 minutes on the freeway from my house, and is located near the beach. I discovered a brilliant example of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) techniques used by department store Target.

While at Frankston shopping centre, which recently went under a rebuild, I trotted past Target – WHICH NOW HAS A CAFÉ! This is brilliant as in Australia, it’s just not very common to have a café inside a middle range department store. I have very happy memories of going to the Kmart Café with my grandma, and getting a jelly frog in the pond. 🙂

Why this is brilliant from a criminology perspective, is that Target (it looked to me like the design purposely good, but could just be happy accident), used really great Situational Crime Prevention techniques’ is not only having the café, but in the layout of the entire store.


First off – the café.

Target Cafe in Frankston (the store is directly the left of the photo)- taken with my iPhone

This is clever as it gives target natural surveillance. This means that inside the store, there are a number of people who can see the store, and deter theft. Just knowing someone is there to see you can reduce theft, as people do not want to get caught. Natural surveillance operates on the risk vs reward factor – is the reward great enough to risk being caught? Stealing a small item from a department store, is a low reward if chances are people will catch you.

Store Layout

target frank
Target Frankston – at entrance looking towards ladies apparel

The layout of the store has wide aisles, and plenty of space between displays of items. Again, this enables natural surveillance, an also helps any security cameras see theft or criminal behaviour (assault etc). It’s harder to steal if there is lots of space around you, with people and cameras able to see you clearly from a variety of angles. This type of layout can also help prevent people from doing things like swapping tags or prices over in an attempt to get a cheaper price.

Shelving Height

Target Frankston in the stationary area. Far left of the store. Taken with my iPhone.

What Target has also done is reduced the height of the shelving, enabling people to see each other from all angles. Very high shelving can be an OH&S risk for staff and customers also, so the action may well reduce claims from people by falling objects etc. It also enables people to see across the store, meaning that you again increase the natural surveillance of the area.

To learn more about CPTED:

This is the wiki link – it provides a very good summary –

To learn more about business security tips, Victoria Police have an online Business Security Kit (you’re welcome – I updated this to go online alongside some VicPol colleagues) click here:

Do you have any thoughts about your own local stores? Comments welcome!

Have a lovely and safe week! Emma.

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